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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Feb;180(2 Pt 1):378-80.

Elastase activity of anaerobes isolated from amniotic fluid with preterm premature rupture of membranes.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Gifu University, Japan.



A total of 131 anaerobes isolated from amniotic fluid with preterm premature rupture of membranes and stored were examined for elastolytic activity by the method described by Williams et al (Lett Appl Microbiol 1988;7:173-6).


Each strain was spot inoculated on a Columbia blood agar plate containing 1% solubilized elastin and incubated for 5 days under anaerobic conditions. Undigested elastin was precipitated by flooding trichloroacetic acid solution onto the plate, and a clear zone was visible as the elastolytic reaction around the spot of bacterial growth.


Ninety-three (71.0%) of 131 organisms showed a positive elastolytic reaction. Eleven of 20 strains (55.0%) of Peptostreptococcus magnus, 9 of 18 strains (50.0%) of Peptostreptococcus micros, 12 of 12 strains (100.0%) of Fusobacterium nucleatum, 15 of 28 strains (53.6%) of Bacteroides fragilis, 8 of 15 strains (53.3%) of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, and 38 of 38 strains (100.0%) of Prevotella bivia were elastolytic.


Anaerobic bacterial species prevalent in the normal vaginal flora that were isolated from amniotic fluid of women with preterm rupture of membranes produced elastolytic activity, plausibly inducing the destruction of host constitutive components.

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